As has become an annual custom, iFixit has given a teardown to the iPhone 14, Apple’s base flagship iPhone for 2022. While the iPhone 14 appears almost identical on the surface to its immediate predecessor, iFixit found one key difference that Apple hasn’t publicly announced: It’s a lot easier to fix.
iFixit calls it “the most significant design change to the iPhone in a long time,” at least for their purposes.
In the new design, the bulk of the phone is in a midframe, but the frame can be opened on either side – both the front and back. Other newer models — including the still-selling iPhone 13, iPhone 12, and iPhone SE, as well as the iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max — could only be opened from the front.
In a YouTube video detailing the teardown, iFixit shows that it started with the usual approach to getting inside an iPhone: carefully removing the front screen. But it was surprised to find a distinctly different design inside, with a metal shield instead of a battery on the front and an easy way to disconnect the screen – it’s already a win for repairability, they claim.
But with that shield in the way, it realized that access to the rest of the interior wasn’t through the front, but through the back—something that wasn’t previously possible. The back was opened through more or less the same process as the front. There iFixit then saw the battery and other components that it normally expects when you open the front.
Replacing the back glass used to be one of the most difficult and expensive iPhone repairs out there, requiring specialized equipment. Users without AppleCare+ who wanted Apple to perform this repair would be charged $599. But now, for the first time since the iPhone 8, this particular fix is relatively easy.
iFixit also notes that the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max models have the old design without the detachable glass back. So this change is unique to the regular iPhone 14 – and possibly or even likely to the iPhone 14 Plus, which is due to ship next month, but we’ll have to wait a couple of weeks to know for sure.
At the end of the video, iFixit gives the iPhone 14 a 7 out of 10 for repairability – still not a perfect score, of course, but an improvement over other recent iPhone models.
Promotional image from iFixit